The District of Columbia does legal sports betting a little differently than its state counterparts – and the results have been decidedly mixed.
While DC’s geographically-limited sportsbooks – featured exclusively within or near Washington’s marquee sports venues – have been thriving since sports betting was legalized, the DC Lottery-run mobile sports betting operator has struggled to keep up. And if that continues, it’ll be difficult for DC to justify its mobile market monopoly.Read More. ↓
For the foreseeable future, DC residents and visitors have just one district-wide online sportsbook to choose from: GambetDC, which is operated by the DC Lottery. And it has been riddled with problems since its launch, between untimely outages, a wonky, unreliable interface and operator-friendly odds that severely restrict player payouts.
Two more notable operators – Caesars and BetMGM – offer online betting, but only within a two-block radius of the stadiums to which they’re tethered. Here’s how we rate those books.Read Less. ↑
Caesars is proving to be one of the most aggressively expanding brands in sports betting. Unfortunately, like all major U.S. sportsbooks, they are quick to limit you if you go on a tear and their odds boost promos offer low maximum bet limits.
FanDuel reigns supreme right now as the No. 1 betting site in America. And it has largely earned that spot on the strength of superior brand recognition, an easy-to-use product, an overwhelming number of markets for North America’s most popular sports, and representation in every state in which it is permitted to offer legal sports betting.
DraftKings had a solid reputation as the leading DFS provider in the country, so the shift to legal sports betting felt natural. They offer one of the most voluminous collections of ongoing promos and odds boosts in the industry as they cater to the beginner crowd. However, their reputation has dwindled as outspoken CEO Jason Robins leads the charge of the anti-profitable bettor mentality that runs rampant amongst sportsbooks that are quick to limit winning players.
PointsBet’s innovative nature shows that they don’t want to just be another book you place typical bets. Unfortunately, they are quick to limit bettors on a hot streak and limit the number of promos you’re able to take advantage of, making it necessary for you to shop at other books regularly.
Barstool Sportsbook’s controversial practices have made them one of the most polarizing companies in sports media. In addition, their fun-over-function business model offers little profitability for bettors who quickly find themselves limited after a hot streak.
Wynn has been steeped in the legal gambling scene in Vegas for as long as anyone out there. In other occurrences where you have an operator with a rich history and influence in retail casino operations and resorts, the focus can predominantly be on slots and table games. The online sportsbook can be a casualty of convenience. We were pleasantly surprised to find that isn’t the case with the WynnBET app.
Bally Bet’s bare-bones operation and limited features don’t warrant much consideration as a part of your regular sportsbook rotation unless you find holes in their lines. Still, it’s a company to be bullish about going forward.
The Sports Illustrated Sportsbook is very much in its infancy, which is noticeable upon browsing the betting site or app, as the design is mediocre to go along with below-average betting odds. However, their relationship with 888 Holdings should allow them to evolve as they continue to grow in this hyper-competitive space.
Hard Rock sportsbook is an excellent choice for super casual bettors. It is simplistic and offers some of the best sign-up bonuses for new users looking to try sports betting for the first time or those betting for light entertainment.
BetMGM has found multiple ways to build up goodwill with DC sports bettors, including live streaming for a wide range of sports, numerous ongoing promos and a Parlay Plus promotion that increases the payout on a successful parlay of 4-to-7 games. If the customer service improves, BetMGM could stay No. 1 for a while.
Check out our BetMGM sportsbook review.
Caesars does just about everything right. Its customer support is the best in the business, and its welcome bonus is among the more generous in the industry. That, combined with the immense brand capital Caesars has around the globe, make this one of the most popular betting operators in the United States.
Check out our Caesars sportsbook review.
Just about everyone loves free stuff, and folks from the nation’s capital are certainly no different. DC-based sportsbooks are clamoring to add new customers – and that’s great news for those of you looking to join the fray. Here are the top bonuses and signup offers available in DC:
This sports betting bonus is pretty straightforward compared to the industry standard but still comes with many terms and conditions worth knowing before you jump in. DC players get a free bet in the equal value of your first wager up to $1,100 if you lose your first bet. The first bet must be made within 30 days of creating your account to qualify.
Free bets will be added to a participant’s Caesars account within three business days after their qualifying wager is graded as a loss by Caesars. You must use your free bet within 14 calendar days from it being awarded, or it will expire. You do not get the full value of a free bet token back if your wager with it wins.
BetMGM has an average sign-up bonus for DC residents, offering a $1,000 risk-free bet for new users. It’s a bump up from the lowly $600 they were offering for a while.
With the risk-free bet, you only get money back if your first bet loses, and they match your first bet up to $1,000. There are no minimum or maximum odds restrictions on your first bet, which is nice since sign-up promos usually feature those. While that’s admirable insurance, it rewards you with nothing if your first bet hits. For that reason, deposit matches are generally slightly more appealing.
|Launch Date||May 2020|
|# of Betting Sites||3|
|Online Sports Betting||✅ Yes|
|Retail Sports Betting||✅ Yes|
|Online Casino||❌ No|
|Retail Casino||❌ No|
|College Sports Betting||✅ Yes (but not on in-district teams)|
|2022 Population (est.)||5.3 million|
|2021 Betting Handle||$143.2 million|
|Tax Rate||10 percent|
Consult our top list above for the best sports betting options available to you in DC. Our interactive list allows you to sort sportsbooks based on a number of criteria, including banking options, bonuses and quality of customer service.
If you’re looking for more information before making your choice, be sure to check out our detailed, unbiased reviews for each of the top sportsbooks in DC. This is especially important if you want to understand how each book’s bonus offers work.
Registration requirements vary slightly by sportsbook, but most follow the same protocols. Be sure to have your personal information (name, address, phone number) and credit card details (number, expiry date, CVV) handy.
Once you’re comfortable with how your sportsbook’s new signup bonus works, it’s time to make your initial deposit and claim whatever bonus might be available (though the pickings are slim when it comes to inducements at DC sportsbooks).
Congratulations! You’re ready to place a wager. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the app, kiosk or physical sportsbook setup before diving in. Most operators make it easy for new sports bettors to navigate, but it’s still good to know where everything is.
From there, you can place any type of wager you like; the most popular bet types are the moneyline, spread or total. You can also dive into team or player props, or even kick things off with a futures bet.
Once you have the desired wager(s) in your betting card, take one last look to ensure you’ve made the selections you want. If everything is good, simply select “Bet” on your app or at your kiosk, or sign off on your bet at a retail location – and you’re off!
Here’s a look at DC’s sports betting history:
Not long after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, DC Councilman Jack Evans introduced Bill B22-0944. The bill would allow for both retail and online sports betting within the district, while putting the DC Lottery in charge of both regulation and management of mobile wagering.
The bill reached Mayor Muriel Bowser following the addition of three amendments in December 2018, and optimism was high that legal sports wagering would make its way to DC early in 2019.
Bowser did as expected and signed off on Bill B22-0944 in January, setting the stage for legal sports wagering to make its way to DC. Yet, before the bill could formally be signed into law, it would need to gain the approval of the US Congress (a barrier any standard U.S. state would not need to pass).
Congress ultimately saw no issue with the sports betting bill, and it became legal in May. Two months later, DC’s Office of Lottery and Gaming finalized the district’s rules and regulations, opening the doors for legal wagering.
After a number of delays, GambetDC finally made its debut in Washington in May, ringing in the era of legal sports betting in DC. In addition to having launched at a time when COVID-19 had shut down most of the global sports calendar, the app is widely panned for offering some of the worst odds of any operator in the country.
Disgruntled sports bettors finally get another option in July, when William Hill launches at Capital One Arena. Later branded as Caesars Sportsbook, the renowned sportsbook is permitted to take bets either on the premises, or within a two-block radius of the venue – and it immediately overtakes GambetDC as the sportsbook of choice.
On the heels of William Hill/Caesars launching its mobile app in DC in December 2020, BetMGM entered the DC sports betting space with the launch of its geo-restricted app and retail sports betting offering at Nationals Park. The two major brands significantly outperformed GambetDC, which held steady with its subpar odds offerings.
Another sportsbook made its debut in 2021, albeit one with a much smaller impact on the DC sports betting landscape. Grand Central Restaurant and Bar launched its own sportsbook within its venue in October 2021, offering two betting kiosks along with a staffed betting window where bettors could make their in-person wagers.
Another year, another major black mark against GambetDC, with the app failing to work for an unknown number of iOS users before and during the Super Bowl. GambetDC offered affected users a $10 in-game bet for the outage, and paid the district $500,000 in compensation; its reputation took an even bigger hit as a result of the malfunction.
Like most U.S. states, DC has put safeguards in place to ensure that bettors have a way out of any potential trouble spots.
The DC chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling (where the organization is based) is the district’s main resource for players who seek help. It provides access to treatment programs, screening tools and a host of self-help resources.
Visit the National Council on Problem Gambling site.
What Can You Bet On in DC?
It will come as no surprise to see a rather extensive list of major professional and amateur sports available to DC bettors – a list that includes (but is not limited to):
That doesn’t leave much off the table, but there are three major markets in which wagering in DC is prohibited:
DC’s unique sports betting regulations make the district’s two marquee sports venues veritable betting hotspots. Fans of DC’s in-house sports teams can not only make wagers within those two sites, they also have access to expansive areas sponsored by a pair of heavy sportsbook hitters and devoted solely to sports betting.
Here’s a look at the three major professional sports franchises that play their home games in DC:
Capital One Arena made history on May 26, 2021, becoming the first North American sports venue in history to open a sportsbook on site. William Hill was the lucky operator, signing a 10-year deal with arena owner Monumental Sports; not long after, Caesars took control of William Hill and rebranded the arena in honor of the Roman emperor.
Might the BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park serve as the blueprint for future sports betting bars and lounges at other MLB parks? The pioneering sports bar boasts multiple big screens, six betting windows, 17 kiosks and a 40 foot bar within its 4,000 square feet of space – and with street-level access, it can be open year-round.
Caesars Sportsbook at Capital One Arena is a two-story behemoth that also features street access, meaning it can be open for most of the year. A 1,500-square-foot LED screen greets patrons outside the sportsbook – and once inside, they have access to several big-screen TVs along with 17 betting windows and 12 self-serve kiosks.
With no casinos or other places to gamble, DC has had to get creative with its approach to sports betting. Third-party sportsbooks can only be set up in Washington’s major sports sites, and can only offer app services within a two-block radius of those venues.
Here are the places where you can bet in-person in DC:
Caesars Sportsbook at Capital One Arena (Caesars Sportsbook, 601 F St NW, Washington, DC, 20004)
Grand Central Restaurant, Bar and Sportsbook (Grand Central Sportsbook, 2447 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009)
Nationals Park (BetMGM Sportsbook, 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC, 20003)
DC is one of the few regions in the United States where the percentage of sports betting patrons using retail locations exceeds that of the mobile wagering audience. And as long as GambetDC continues to underwhelm, that will likely be the case.
Here’s a look at DC’s monthly sports betting handle beginning in 2020, divided between commercial operators and GambetDC:
|Month||Commercial Handle||GambetDC Handle|
|August||$9.1 million||$2.1 million|
|September||$12.1 million||$3.2 million|
|October||$14.3 million||$4.1 million|
|November||$13.7 million||$3.8 million|
|December||$12.4 million||$4.2 million|
|Total||$61.7 million||$18.7 million|
|Month||Commercial Handle||GambetDC Handle|
|January||$10.5 million||$5.1 million|
|February||$11.1 million||$4.1 million|
|March||$11.4 million||$3.8 million|
|April||$8 million||$2.7 million|
|May||$10.6 million||$3 million|
|June||$16 million||$3.4 million|
|July||$10.6 million||$2.1 million|
|August||$10.8 million||$1.6 million|
|September||$17 million||$3.6 million|
|October||$20.7 million||$5.5 million|
|November||$16.1 million||$5.2 million|
|December||$14.2 million||$4.9 million|
|Total||$143.2 million||$45.6 million|
|Month||Commercial Handle||GambetDC Handle|
|January||$12.8 million||$5.7 million|
|February||$15.1 million||$3.9 million|
|March||$14.2 million||$6.2 million|
|April||$13.1 million||$5.1 million|
|May||$12.2 million||$5 million|
|June||$9.9 million||$3.7 million|
|July||$8 million||$3.2 million|
|Total||$85.6 million||$33.0 million|
Sportsbooks pay a 10 percent tax rate on gross gaming revenue to the district.
Yes! After a few COVID-related delays, proprietary betting app GambetDC accepted the first legal wagers in DC in May 2020.
You can create an account, deposit, make bets and even withdraw using any active sportsbook in DC, as long as you are within district borders. Be sure to complete all of your transactions before you leave; once you’re outside the district, you will no longer be able to access your account(s).
Esports betting is currently prohibited in DC.
DC slots in at No. 50 among U.S. states and territories in population at 718,355 people (2022 estimate).
The DC Office of Lottery and Gaming has jurisdiction over sports betting in the district. You’ll find plenty of info on the website, including regulations and licensing information, additional responsible gaming resources and compliance and enforcement info.
You can expect the industry’s other heavy hitters to come banging on the door if DC decides to open the playing field further. FanDuel and DraftKings are the top two names on the list by virtue of their market dominance across the rest of the country.